SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Thai index nearly flat ahead of rate decision
BANGKOK, March 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, with Thai benchmark little changed ahead of the central bank's interest rate decision while a holiday-shortened trading week kept volumes in many stock exchanges relatively low. Thai key SET index was lower 0.03 percent after a fourth straight gain on Tuesday. Interest rate-sensitive banking stocks were mostly higher led by Bangkok Bank's 1.4 percent rise. Twenty-six out of 28 economists in a Reuters poll expected the Bank of Thailand to leave its one-day repurchase rate unchanged at 1.5 percent. "The BOT is expected to stand pat on interest rates while its view on the Thai economy may garner more market attention after concerns grow larger over this years drought spell," said strategists at broker Phillip Securities. The Philippines' key index extended losses for a second day, with trading volumes about 30 percent of full-day average over the past 30 days. The Philippine stock market will be closed on Thursday and Friday for public holidays. Singapore and Indonesia will be shut on Friday. Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia were little changed ahead of inflation data for February due out later in the day. Indonesia earlier hit the lowest since March 11 while Vietnam rebounded after three days of falls. Asian shares consolidated their gains on Wednesday, shaking off earlier losses following attacks on the airport and a rush-hour metro train in Brussels as investors look to a brightening global economic picture. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0339 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2884.01 2880.65 0.12 Bangkok 1396.77 1397.2 -0.03 Manila 7317.89 7342.03 -0.33 Jakarta 4834.213 4856.107 -0.45 Kuala Lumpur 1722.76 1724.75 -0.12 Ho Chi Minh 572.43 570.91 0.27 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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